Camp Arifjan, Kuwait –
Army Lt. Col. Daniel Howser took the reins as Defense Logistics Agency Support Team Middle East commander from Air Force Lt. Col. Brian Wilken in a virtual change of command ceremony Sept. 29.
Howser, a 17-year Army veteran, has been with DLA Land and Maritime for a year and before that served as the 410th Contract Support Brigade Operations Officer at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he conducted contract mission support for U.S. Southern Command.
When the COVID-19 crisis developed in March 2020, Howser led the contracting operations cell for Field Directorate Office Fort Sam Houston, which supported pandemic response efforts by U.S. Army North and U.S. Northern Command. He helped ensure commercial logistics support for medical providers deployed throughout the continental U.S. to augment hospitals, clinics and medical centers providing COVID-19 care.
“I’m looking forward to continuing the DLA Support Team Middle East’s priorities as being an anticipatory and timely partner for both education and execution of DLA capabilities for the joint logistics enterprise in theater,” he said.
Wilken has also been with DLA just over a year and deployed to DST-ME six months ago. He works for the Analytics Center of Excellence, formerly DLA Operations Research and Resource Analysis in Richmond, Virginia.
DLA Support Teams Afghanistan and Kuwait were merged to activate DST-ME in April, when Wilken took command to serve as the newly renamed team’s first commander.
He said he’s proud to have led a diverse team of 16 military and civilian DLA professionals from across the agency to support warfighters through all supply classes in the U.S. Central Command area of operations.
“We served together during an historic moment in time, supporting the president-directed drawdown of all forces from Afghanistan,” Wilken said. “We also supported the relocation of Afghan civilians and families during Operation Allies Refuge.”
Challenges among his team members included being away from family members, missing events like birthdays and children’s first day back to school, he said.
“A particularly challenging moment for me was being down four crucial team members during a spike in COVID cases on base,” Wilken said. “However, the team pulled together to cover workload and kept the mission going. I’m very proud of the team and it was an honor to serve with them.”
Wilken will return to ACE to finish his assignment. He has nearly 20 years of service and plans to retire next summer.